A Carbon County Saturday: An Abandoned Cemetery, A Historic Town And A Hike Along The Lehigh.

A Carbon County Saturday: An Abandoned Cemetery, A Historic Town And A Hike Along The Lehigh.

Weatherly Cemetery (10 of 41)
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It has been a while since I hiked   the Lehigh River Gorge  in Carbon County. So, on Saturday, I planned to park at the Leslie Run  access and begin a hike on the D & L trail along the river.  It was  mild, for February, with temperatures in the mid 30’s. And it was overcast and  foggy.  As I  drove  to the river  I remembered the abandoned, and supposedly haunted,  cemetery  near the road to Leslie Run. 

Located on N. Church Road in Lehigh Township, this 170 year old cemetery was reportedly haunted during my high school years. It was a ritual to drive to this remote area to see the haunted graveyard. I decided to stop here first.

The remote location of the cemetery not only aroused suspicions that it was haunted it also  attracted undesirables.

Unfortunately, the cemetery was vandalized by some depraved soulless criminals a few years ago. Desecrating the resting place of our departed fellow humans is inexcusable in my opinion. I left my jeep and heard the rushing waters of a nearby stream. It is a peaceful place. 

Most of the graves were unattended, the souls that lay at rest here, long forgotten, like this husband and wife.  

There were  some newer graves, still decades old,  that were  cared for and adorned with flowers or seasonal decorations. . 

I did some quick research on the cemetery and  learned it was the burial grounds for one of the first Roman Catholic churches in Carbon County,

The oldest I could find was from 1861.

I am sure some were older but the inscriptions were erased by the elements and time.

Each grave represented a life. Love, marriage, birth, death, happiness, sadness, loneliness. 

I reflected on the lives of the departed, many of whom are now only known by these inscribed tombstones. 

Many of the departed were born in Ireland. I imagined they voyage over the rough seas. The strange new city upon arrival, and eventually the arrival in the wilderness that was the early 1800’s Pennsylvania.

Some of the tombstones provided some hints to the lives of the departed.   One could feel the suffering of poor Mr. Alexander. He lost his wife in 1940 and then a son in WWII. Did he have other children who helped ease his loss. Or did he live the next 20 years alone?

And this gravestone. A female WWII veteran who appears to have made the ultimate sacrifice for her country. Where was she born? Where did she go to school? Did she walk the railroad tracks along the Lehigh River. So many questions raced through my mind. They always do when I visit a cemetery. 

As I left this neglected sacred ground I again was enraged at the people who vandalized it. Hopefully they will someday, in this life or the next, realize the disrespect they showed  to the dead, and make amends for it. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my visit to the cemetery. St. Joseph R.C. Cemetery February 1 2020. 

After visiting the cemetery I made a change of plans, deciding to drive to historic Jim Thorpe to meet my girlfriend. While waiting for her to arrive I took a quick walk through this historic town of Jim Thorpe located along the Lehigh River. 

At one time it sent coal and timber to the city of Philadelphia by the famous Lehigh canal in the early 19th century. 

The arrival of the railroad opened the markets to New York and the rest of the Nation. 

Today it is a tourist town and still takes advantage of the waters of the Lehigh River for whitewater rafting. 

After a quick hike we drove to the Glen Onoko access to the Lehigh Gorge. We walked to the stream that creates the famous Glen Onoko Falls. The falls are now closed to the public because of deaths of hikers on the steep and slippery trails.

We left the creek and walked the trail for a few miles. Unfortunately we saw no wildlife on our 3 1/2 mile hike, unless you can count an insect that flew along the railroad tracks. 

The hike along the river, and my visit in the cemetery worked up an appetite and we were off for a nice breakfast, not in Crbon County, but  at the Park Restaurant in Shennadoah in Schuylkill County. A great palce for a wholesome meal.  Here is s link to a gallery with more photographs from my hikes . Jim Thorpe and Glen Onoko hike February 2 2020. 

 

“The dead has always been within us, its just the graveyard where we lay to rest.”
― Anthony Liccione

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